U.S. Embassy highlights environment-related professional exchanges in celebration of Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day, the U.S. Embassy highlights two of its environment-related professional exchanges that have been funded by the U.S. government to develop sustainable partnerships in areas of mutual interest with specialists from Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. These exchanges help the U.S. Embassy continue an important dialogue about sustainable economic growth, as well as highlight our continuing commitment to address cross-cutting issues such as the environment, public health, climate change, and invasive species.

Observation Tours at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

St. Lucian Anesta Augustin and Antiguan Dr. Janil Gore-Francis recently traveled to the United States to participate in a professional exchange on invasive species management and eradication sponsored by the U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Through the U.S. Embassy’s partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, they will participate in a three-day, professional exchange to observe and exchange best practices on the management and eradication efforts of the giant African land snail in Broward County, Florida.

Ms. Augustin is a horticulturalist working in the Propagation Station in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Production, Fisheries, Cooperatives, and Rural Development in St. Lucia. Dr. Gore-Francis, a biologist, has been the head of the Plant Protection Unit in the Department of Agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda since 1994. She currently chairs the Giant African Snail Eradication Task Force in Antigua and Barbuda.

Last April, the U.S. Embassy partnered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to promote awareness about environmental issues in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. The Embassy hosted a series of workshops in Barbados and St. Lucia featuring American entomologist, Dr. Trevor Smith, who discussed multi-pronged approaches to the management and eradication of invasive species such as the giant African land snail.

Cochran Fellowships with the Department of Agriculture

In a recent visit, Mr. Omar Gonzalez, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, traveled to Barbados and St. Lucia on behalf of the Cochran Fellowship Program (CFP) to interview applicants for the 2015 Cochran Fellowship Program. During his visit, Mr. Gonzalez also met with Cochran Alumni in an effort to assess the impact of previously implemented Cochran training programs.

The Cochran Fellowship Program was established in 1984 and provides mutually beneficial, short-term training for mid to senior level agriculturalists to help countries develop market-driven food systems and increase trade links with U.S. agribusinesses. Cochran Fellows travel to the United States, generally for two to three weeks, to attend tailor-designed agricultural training programs that allow them to meet with leading specialists in their field, participate in field observations and/or industry tours, engage in hands-on training, and attend university level courses or seminars.

The CFP has trained 169 professionals from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines spanning over a 27-year period. In 2015, the training topics for the Eastern Caribbean region, which were developed in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, will be in the areas of biosafety, food safety, and animal health.

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